A tender and magical tale from the 2016 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren award and author of international bestseller How I Live Now, National Book Award finalist Picture Me Gone, and most recently Jonathan Unleashed
Pell Ridley, daughter of a good-for-nothing preacher in mid-nineteenth century England, has watched her mother crushed by the burden of too many children and too little money. Unwilling to repeat her fate, Pell runs away on her wedding day taking only her beautiful, white horse. But, as she journeys through a strange world of gypsies in search of a new life, Pell finds that her ties to home refuse to release her.
Like the works of Philip Pullman and Sue Monk Kidd, The Bride's Farewell will resonate with readers of all ages as it grapples with timeless questions of how to live, how to love, and how to be true to one's self.
Pell Ridley is the adventurous heroine in this serviceably told tale, the fourth novel for London-based Rosoff, who has written successfully for the YA market. On her wedding day, Pell leaves town on her faithful horse, Jack, grudgingly bringing along her mute younger brother, Bean. Pell shirks expectations and jilts her childhood beau, Birdie, with an oddly modern defiance of 1850s England convention. No matter that Birdie seems a nice enough man, unlike her abusive preacher father Pell is stubborn in her desire to flee the domestic life in Nomansland that mires her mother in a sea of children and overwork. Pell arrives at the Salisbury horse fair and her adventures begin. She is separated from Bean and her horse but meets a poacher she dubs Dogman (he travels with a pack of dogs) and together they wander the countryside living on bread crusts and flickering hope. Pell's love and knowledge of horses factors largely in her fight for survival, but it's human love romantic and familial that drives plucky Pell and leads us to this simple but satisfying story's happy if unsurprising conclusion.